Last week, James Cameron made a surprise appearance at Las Vegas's CinemaCon and announced not one, and not two, but four sequels to Avatar, to be released in 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2023. While any and all plot and character details are being kept under wraps, JC and his crew have dropped hints here and there as to what this epic five-part saga could ultimately entail.
By the time Part 2 comes out, the original film will be nine years old, so hopefully Cameron is arriving on the project with some fresh ideas. Let's get speculative as to what those might be: Here are 12 Things We Want To See in the Avatar Sequels!
12 Aquatic Action
The first thing James Cameron teased with regards to potential setpieces in Avatar 2 and beyond was the inclusion of extensive underwater photography. JC doesn't just make movies; he creates movie-making technology. Going back to movies like Terminator 2 and The Abyss, he created (or at least contracted the creation of) characters and imagery that, up to that point, had been considered impossible.
While motion capture had been used in movies and videogames for years before Avatar, the strides made during production of that film have since become shorthand for nearly all big-budget blockbusters that followed. Cameron has promised to do the same thing with underwater photography for the Avatar sequels, completely changing the way such scenes are assembled. We're not quite sure what he means by that, but if we see Jake Sully going up against giant underwater crocodile monsters and military submarines in extensive underwater sequences unlike anything we've ever seen before, then we can't wait to learn what Cameron has up his sleeves to make real his wild imagination. Speaking of new film-making technologies...
11 High Frame Rate
The High Frame Rate (HFR) debate is a divisive topic. Some people love the newfound clarity in the image, while others believe it looks artificial and ruins the cinematic feel of the movie. However, most audiences have only experienced true High Frame Rate content in Peter Jackson's adaptations of The Hobbit. With all due respect to the man who brought Tolkien's stories to life in the Lord of the Rings saga, his Hobbit films are not a particularly beloved experiment, even in the storied annals of disputed prequel trilogies.
Up until the release of Avatar in 2009, 3D was remembered a long-extinct gimmick with little chance of a comeback, and few believed that the format would make as huge of a resurgence as it did. While JC didn't mention if the Avatar sequels would be shot in the unproven new format, we are betting this will ultimately be the case; if anyone can prove the HFR naysayers wrong, it's James Cameron, a man who gets his jollies by proving naysayers wrong. It's what he does.
10 Four Distinct Experiences
When the dust settles in 2023, there will have been a grand total of five Avatar films, including the 2009 original. In his CinemaCon speech, Cameron promised that the films would stand alone but combine to form a grand saga.
We hope he sticks to his promise. While cliffhanger endings certainly have their place and can be used to great effect, we'd be disappointed if, after all these years of writing the disparate sequels, he can't craft a beginning, middle, and end to each of them. We're confident in Cameron's ability to keep his word in this instance, but we can't help but have a niggling feeling that the final two films might be a two-part cliffhanger deal. While there is a two-year gap between each of the first three sequels, the fifth (and presumably final) entry is scheduled to arrive just one year after Avatar 4. It's just an educated guess, but we wouldn't be the least bit surprised if part 4 has a cliffhanger ending which will lead directly into the grand finale of Avatar 5.
9 Beyond Pandora
The first Avatar establishes Pandora as being just one of several moons revolving around the planet Polyphemus. James Cameron made in clear early on that the other moons, as well as the other planets in Alpha Centauri, would be ripe for exploration in sequels, so let's do it! Is there life on the other moons? Can the Na'vi communicate with them? Might there be Unobtainium or a different resource there? So many questions! But we can look forward to no less than four additional films in which the entire universe may be explored.
We can't imagine getting bored with the beautiful flora and fauna of Pandora, especially with unexplored areas which were not covered in the first film, but we'd still like to journey to other, wildly different, and totally new settings; places which will inspire the same sense of wonder and the unexpected as when we first visited Pandora.
Perhaps the most promising new location to explore in the upcoming Avatar sequels might be our own home turf, Earth. However, it is not the Earth we take for granted in the 21st century; in the backstory to the original film, Earth is said to be a ruined world, devastated by pollution and over-population. Humanity isn't expanding to the stars to explore and enlighten, but as a matter of simple survival.
Juxtaposing the industrial wasteland of Earth with the lush natural beauty of Pandora would be a tremendous way to accentuate the extremes of both worlds. Mankind has destroyed their world, and they need a new one. The stakes are high for humanity, and, though the Na'vi drove them back once, they will be back, and we fear that full-on war between Pandora and humanity will prove to be an inevitability.
7 Sam Worthington
We love Jake Sully and would be sad to see Avatar without him as the lead character, played by Sam Worthington. Sam is one of those actors who gets a lot more hate than he deserves. Sure, his attempts at concealing his Australian accent make Daredevil's Charlie Cox seem like a native New Yorker in comparison, but we're sure he's gotten better at that in the seven years since the release of the first film.
While Worthington has yet to break out into being an A-List star, we adore him and believe him to be a strong and natural actor. The dreadful Clash of the Titans remake notwithstanding, he did great character work in such films as The Debt, Cake, and Everest.
We hope that, whatever the future of Avatar holds, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are front and center as its main characters.
6 Michael Biehn
While Stephen Lang's performance as the evil militaristic badass Colonel Quaritch was excellent and highly memorable, we can't help but wonder at what might have been; Lang was actually the second choice for the role. It was originally written for Michael Biehn, who starred in earlier James Cameron joints like The Terminator, The Abyss, and Aliens. In fact, the role was recast in an effort to be less evocative of Aliens, as well as to make the character seem less heroic.
Now that Quaritch is dead as a doornail, Earth's military forces are going to need a new leader. While, yes, Cameron did allude to the possibility of an identical clone replacement, we'd much prefer the creation of a whole new character, maybe an old war buddy of Quaritch's, who would, naturally, be played by Michael Biehn.
Biehn is a badass, but he also seems like a down-to-Earth (so to speak) kind of guy, so his character could be a more affable alternative to Lang's no-nonsense grizzled Space Marine type.
5 Avatar Quaritch
Sure, the villainous Colonel Quaritch gets totally pin-cushioned by arrows, so bringing him back in any capacity would be a stretch, but James Cameron is putting these movies together with a crack team of writers to achieve his vision, and we can't imagine that vision doesn't include Sam Worthington's Jake Sully going mano-a-mano with an Avatar version of the military commander! Perhaps his injuries looked a lot worse than they were; maybe he was merely nearly dead, instead of most sincerely dead.
What if he is recovered by a different tribe of Na'vi who he then converts to his militaristic ways, in kind of a reverse version of the first film's "white dude trained by natives" plot? We're just spit-balling ideas here, but a Sully vs Quaritch Avatar fight is something we seriously need to witness, one way or another, before this saga comes to a close.
4 Sigourney Weaver
After Sigourney Weaver's character, Dr. Grace, is mortally wounded, the Na'vi attempt to transfer her human consciousness to her Avatar's body. Unfortunately, the attempt fails... Or does it?
Way back when the sequels were first hinted at, Weaver herself confirmed that she would return to the fold. What if, though Grace's body was too weak to survive the ritual, her consciousness was nonetheless absorbed by Eywa? Maybe in the sequels, Eywa, the spirit of the entire moon of Pandora, will manifest itself into a physical form to communicate with characters on a personal level. And maybe it will take the form of the late human, Dr. Grace Augustine! Sounds plausible to us.
It would be great to see Sigourney Weaver return in any capacity. After all, she is Sigourney Weaver. But it would also be perfect for her character to wind up being closer than anyone to the life of the planet she gave her life trying to protect and understand.
3 Don't Forget The Original!
Sequels have a habit of ignoring the events of their progenitor. When a film is made, there is usually no guarantee the studio will produce a sequel. Look at trilogies like Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars. There is a certain dissonance between the plots of the first film in the trilogy versus the second two entries. Usually, the first film, in retrospect, is relegated to introducing the characters, while the conflict doesn't really begin until the first sequel. There is but one mention of The Emperor in Star Wars: A New Hope, and the revelation about the secret identity of Darth Vader wasn't even conceived until the sequel was being written. Even the Star Wars prequel trilogy, bizarrely enough, still manages to fall prey to this. Episode I is almost completely irrelevant to the story of Episodes II and III.
Avatar left more than enough breadcrumbs to follow-up on in the coming movies; while we would absolutely expect to see crazy new ideas in the sequels, we would also like to be able to trace them back to ground zero, 2009's game-changer, the original Avatar.
2 More Sexy Alien Hair Sex
In the first Avatar, one of the most talked-about moments was The Sexy Alien Hair sex scene. It was weird and the subject of much ridicule from the snarkier corners of the internet. That being said, it's a romantic scene which works beautifully within the film. It's a testament to James Cameron's directing ability that such an inherently silly concept could play so well in theaters.
This being a sequel, we completely expect it to raise the bar with regards to Sexy Alien Hair sex. We want tender moments between Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana making sweet Sexy Alien Hair love with each other. We fully expect an epic rave sequence like in The Matrix Reloaded, in which all the denizens of Hometree dance to obnoxious techno music and engage in a massive Sexy Alien Hair sex orgy. We want to see a lot of things in the Avatar sequels, but this is the only entry on this list to which we have already dedicated entire volumes of hand-written fan fiction. We even wrote a distant sequel to Shampoo, set in the Avatar universe, in which Warren Beatty plays an Sexy Alien Hair stylist who gets intimate with all of his clients.
Sexy alien hair sex scenes are non-negotiable. The only limit is James Cameron's willingness to indulge our carnal lust.
1 Stick to the Schedule
As some fans may remember, James Cameron first started talking about Avatar sequels in 2006, a full three years before the first film was even released. The plan was to make two sequels if the first movie was successful. After Avatar became the highest grossing film of all time, Cameron laid out a plan for two sequels, to be released in 2014 and 2015. Then, eventually, the plan changed to include a third sequel, with the dates being pushed back multiple times. We have a good feeling that we'll finally be seeing the first Avatar sequel in 2018, but only time will tell if the current release schedule, of 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2023, will stick. If an idea pops into Cameron's head and he decides that the films need to be completely retooled to accommodate it, what else can 20th Century Fox do but bow to his whims?
What do you want to see in the Avatar sequels? Could Michael Biehn be a suitable replacement for Stephen Lang? Have you written your own Sexy Alien Hair Sex erotic fiction? Sound off in the comments below!